On behalf of Susan (Mrs. Cybersalt) and myself, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a merry and blessed Christmas. May this Christmas be one that fills your heart and soul with the fullness God desires each of us to be experiencing in relationship with Him.
(AP Photo / Francois Mori)
A few days ago I learned of the suicide attempt of a fellow my age who this past year has been struggling within a perfect storm of loss, grief, and addiction. Poor choices made along the way have only weighed him down further as consequences have come home to roost. I know his story well because for ten of those months I have been his pastor and tried to help in so many ways. Without a doubt, the holiday season multiplied his sense of suffering and tunneled his vision so that ending it all seemed the only solution. Please note, though, that I said the “holiday season” and not Christmas, for Christmas could never do such things – Christmas in its real meaning that is.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ – God become man to save us from our sins. Unfortunately this simple and central fact is often lost in the hustle to cook up our own recipe for seasonal happiness – a recipe calling for ingredients our broken and fallen world so often denies us. Death, murder, sickness, imprisonment, military service, estrangement, unfaithfulness, loneliness and the like will eventually deny our holiday “must haves” and when that happens the holiday season creates within us a hyper-focus on what we don’t have. This causes us to see only one door through which we can go – the door of despair. Again, the holidays do this, not Christmas.
Christmas, in all of its glorious truth and meaning, points to a door for people who don’t have all they need for happiness, for people who see they are trapped in the guilt, consequences, and separation of their sin. This door is for people who will confess that their imperfect soul cannot dwell with a perfect God unless He provides a way out. This door is Jesus and Christmas is a reminder and celebration that Jesus came as God’s way out for us – God’s only way out for us.
Again, may this Christmas be one that fills your heart and soul with the fullness God desires each of us to be experiencing in relationship with Him – whether or not you have everything you need for a happy holiday season.
Pastor Tim has retired from pastoring local churches and is now working alongside his wife to help refugees and persecuted Christians.